A brief overview of Malta’s Budget 2019

The Maltese Budget for 2019 is set to be announced on Monday 22nd of October, but what can we expect? Following the 2018 budget, 79% of the measures introduced within it were fulfilled during 2018, bringing to over 1,250 implemented measures over the last five years in total.

Entitled “Fostering a Quality Culture”, the Pre-Budget 2019 Document has given us some key points that we are expecting to be addressed in Monday’s reading.

Infrastructure

Investing in the country’s infrastructure, including public transport is expected to be a priority for the government, directly referencing the authority’s pledge to upgrade the national infrastructure over the next seven years. Other means of alternative transport are also expected to be announced as well as conceptual designs for the Malta-Gozo tunnel. Other areas expected to receive additional investment include maritime, aviation, and the digitization of The Lands Authority. The well-developed infrastructure can boost the real-estate growth and attract more foreign entrepreneurs and businessmen to the island on a permanent basis.

Regulatory Authorities

Following the implementation of the 4th AML Directive, the government is expected to announce further dedication towards addressing fiscal evasion as well as giving the Malta Customs greater investment towards non-invasive tools. The report also mentioned work that needs to be done at the stock exchange and the Malta Development Bank which focuses on SMEs and infrastructure projects supporting regional development.

New frameworks to be introduced will limit unnecessary expenditure, reduce inefficiencies, and create the Public Sector Performance and Evaluation Directorate. An extensive training programme, financed partially by the Structural Reform Support Programme, will improve human resources capacity. However, the competition on the labour market is not likely to decline due to the foreign companies entering the market with their employees on board.

Social Matters

The document addresses issues around housing and distribution of income and suggests that issues such as minimum wage, pensions, and tax refunds will be addressed.

The Environment

Waste management will be consolidated at Magħtab to provide a “national waste management nucleus” and to avoid unnecessary movement of vehicles. The government is expected to focus on a greener economy by announcing initiatives that will reduce the amount of waste and single-use plastic. Further work is expected on the Malta strategy to transition to a low-carbon economy.

The document also makes reference to conserving natural assets and taking necessary action, as well as simplifying the legal framework for agricultural operators, and reforming open vegetable markets. The government is also expected to continue its efforts to promote animal welfare, the sustainability of fish stocks, and the competitiveness of fishermen.

Let us hope that the solid part of the budget is dedicated to environmental improvement and conservation needs because the rapid development of the infrastructure is able to shake the balance between nature and technology.

Energy and Water

Water Services Corporation will continue to expand its distribution of new water as well as upgrading several reverse osmosis plants. The money will be invested in identifying significant flood risk areas and improving them, both across Malta and Gozo. Attention will also be given to decarbonising of the energy system and introducing further incentives to invest in renewable energy sources and increasing energy efficiency awareness.

Digital Innovation

A new legislation regarding online gaming is expected to be enforced, including new niches such as fantasy sports.

Blockchain is also expected to have a significant investment, as well as artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things – all of which will be given significant support over the coming years.

Fintech and Regtech will be further developed as well as Islamic finance, and the MFSA will adopt a more modern structure making it more proactive. The international companies are waiting for the three regulatory acts to come into force to consider Malta as their new base.

Sustainability

Malta Enterprise will continue to support businesses by reducing costs and encouraging investment in research and development. Intellectual Property services will be restructured and a new trademark act will be created as well.

Malta Industrial Parks (MIP) will integrate business parks to accommodate clusters of industries in the same location whilst considering vertical or horizontal expansion. MIP will also consider private-public partnerships and a comprehensive master plan for the Luqa area.

Furthermore, student visas will be simplified for non-EU Students and the Malta Residency and Visa Programme will suggest changes to the law to make it more attractive, as well as exploring a visa action plan for foreign workers.

 

If you would like to know more about Malta’s budget plan this year and its influence on your industry, drop us a line by sending us an email on [email protected]